Why The "Single Family" In "Single Family Homes" Does Not Mean You Have To Have A Family To Live There

A lot of real estate advertising uses descriptive phrases like "duplex," "detached garage," and "single family home." A lot of people are thrown by some of these descriptions. If you are confused as to whether or not you can live in a single family home as a couple, a single person, or someone with lots of roommates, then here are some valid reasons why you do not have to have a spouse and kids to live in a single family home.

​"Single Family Home" Actually Just Describes a Non-Multi-Unit Dwelling

You are probably even more confused now, but hang on. A multi-dwelling unit is an apartment complex where multiple people can occupy the apartments. A duplex is two houses connected by a common wall. A double- or triple-family home is a dwelling where two or three families or up to twenty people can reside and share the space. In the case of a single family home, it is meant to house anywhere from two to twelve people, depending on the size of the house. However, not all of the people have to be related.

"Single Family Home" Means You Can Live There by Yourself

​If you were to buy a modest, 1,500 square-foot, single family home, you absolutely could live there by yourself. You do not have to live with family, nor do you have to live there with a spouse or significant other. If you wanted to, you could even rent out your extra bedrooms to roommates, all while maintaining ownership of the property and living there yourself. As long as you use the home within the confines of the law and within the constraints of the zoning laws on your property, you can do as you like with the house and live there as you please (or not).

​Single Family Homes Are the Most Common Homes for Sale

​In short, do not let real estate descriptors and lingo throw you. As you will see, single family homes are the most common homes available for sale. The only reason real estate agents apply this phrase to the listings of thousands of homes is because there are hundreds of other homes and buildings for sale that landlords and landladies may be looking for and want to buy for the purpose of increasing their income. There may also be investors who want to buy properties and upgrade them into larger single family homes.